British retail executive Bostock joining clothing chain Coast-reports

LONDON Tue Aug 20, 2013 6:39pm EDT

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LONDON Aug 20 (Reuters) - Kate Bostock, one of the biggest names in Britain's retail industry, is going to head up privately owned clothing chain Coast, as it eyes international expansion, according to British media reports.

Bostock quit online fashion retailer ASOS last month after just seven months as executive director of product and trading, deciding the fast-growing online fashion firm that targets young women looking to emulate the designer looks of celebrities wasn't for her.

She previously spent eight years at Britain's biggest clothing retailer, Marks & Spencer, as head of merchandising, making her one of the most powerful women in the retail sector.

Bostock, 56, has also worked for Next, Britain's second-largest clothing retailer, and for the George brand at Asda, a subsidiary of the world's largest retailer, Wal-Mart Stores Inc.

She will join Coast as chief executive in September, replacing Margaret McDonald who moved to U.S. lingerie brand Victoria's Secret, a unit of L Brands Inc.

Bostock will work alongside Chairman Derek Lovelock to expand the brand globally and within Britain and to widen its appeal beyond mainly formal wear, Lovelock told industry publication Retail Week. Coast currently has about 370 stores in about 26 countries.

"Her experience in meeting customers' demands and in product development, allied with her expertise at leading teams and implementing strategic plans will be invaluable to Coast," Lovelock told the industry publication.

Her appointment comes after Coast's former parent, Aurora Fashions, partly owned by Icelandic bank Kaupthing, unveiled plans in March to make Coast a stand-alone business and combine its two other retailers Oasis and Warehouse into a new business.

Mike Shearwood, Aurora chief executive officer, said in a statement at that time that this would allow Coast to build on its position as a specialist in formal wear with more flagship openings, a new website and international growth.

Neither Coast nor Aurora Fashions could be reached for comment.

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